BEREA, Ohio (AP)Deshaun Watson’s bruised right shoulder remains a sore spot for the Cleveland quarterback and the Browns.
Watson didn’t practice Monday, and it’s not yet known if he’ll play Sunday against unbeaten San Francisco.
As his teammates returned from their bye week and practiced, Watson, who unexpectedly sat out the Oct. 1 game against Baltimore, stayed inside the team’s facility to continue rehab on an injury the Browns have downplayed.
Watson hurt his shoulder on a running play against Tennessee two weeks ago. He was limited in practice the following week before he sat out Cleveland’s 28-3 loss at home to the Ravens, who took advantage of his absence and pounded rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson in his NFL debut.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not provide any specifics on Watson’s injury and would not speculate on whether he’ll face the 49ers (5-0).
“I know it’s a broken record, but really just treat it day by day,” Stefanski said. “He’s doing everything in his power, working around the clock with rehab. So he’s just doing what he’s being told to do in terms of his rehab process.”
The 28-year-old Watson is not believed to have sustained any structural damage to his shoulder when he took a big hit from Titans safety Amani Hooker on a designed running play in Cleveland’s 27-3 win.
Watson stayed in the game and had his best performance (27 of 33, 289 yards passing, 2 TDs) in nine starts since signing a $230 million contract with the Browns.
Watson was limited in practice and listed as questionable leading into the Baltimore game. The Browns expected him to play, but when he got to the stadium on game day, Watson was unable to throw with any velocity during an on-field workout before kickoff, and the decision was made for him to be inactive despite being medically cleared.
Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round pick from UCLA, started for Watson and looked overmatched while throwing three interceptions and being sacked four times.
The Browns have said several times that Watson’s shoulder is structurally sound. So if that’s the case, Stefanski was asked why he’s not ready to play.
“The piece there that’s important is medically cleared versus functionally able to do your job,” Stefanski said. “That’s what with all of our guys, when you’re working through an injury, you need to be able to functionally perform, and that’s what Deshaun’s working very hard in his rehab – to be able to get back to 100%.”
Stefanski would not say if Thompson-Robinson or veteran P.J. Walker will start against the 49ers if Watson can’t play.
“We’re not going towards Sunday just yet,” Stefanski said. “But DTR, like we talked about, young player getting better.”
NOTES: All-Pro DE Myles Garrett (foot), TE David Njoku (burns), LG Joel Bitonio (ankle) and C Ethan Pocic (chest, knee) were also kept out of practice to rehab injuries. Njoku sustained burns on his face and arm in a home accident just two days before the game against Baltimore but played and led the team in catches. “Everybody’s progressing,” Stefanski said. “They’re all doing a nice job. They’re all doing what we’re asking them to do.”
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